Want to go? A presentation on natural gas drilling by Jim Womack of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission (hosted by Sen. Ronald Rabin) is set for 7 p.m. today at Angier Elementary School in Harnett County. A large crowd is expected.


The Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s 12th State Senate district is concerned about tonight’s workshop on fracking hosted by his opponent, Republican Sen. Ronald Rabin, in Harnett County.

The event — which will be led by Lee County Republican Commissioner and North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission Chairman Jim Womack — begins at 7 p.m. today at Angier Elementary School’s gymnasium (it was originally to be held at Angier Depot, but the expected large crowd required a larger venue). Womack — a vocal advocate for natural gas drilling in North Carolina — will be the lone speaker, aside from an introduction by Rabin. The Republican-heavy presentation is concerning to Joe Langley, Rabin’s opponent in the November general election.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to is concerned that Jim Womack is the speaker,” Langley told The Rant on Wednesday. “Even though I do believe his speech will be very politically one-sided, I’m sure there will be a large group present that will be aware of what they are attempting to do.”

Rabin’s legislative aide Gabe Snyder told the Dunn Daily Record this week that some environmental groups may attend, and several others have made indirect threats toward Rabin, prompting the senator to ask the North Carolina General Assembly Police to monitor the event, as well as the Angier Police Department. Rabin told the newspaper Womack’s presentation will be “purely informational, to show people where we are and where we are going. … It was never intended to be a show-and-tell event.”

Questions from those on hand will be accepted, but only in written form, another concern of Langley, who worries about transparency more than anything. The Daily Record reports Rabin’s campaign received a $500 donation from Piedmont Natural Gas this election year and other donations from the North Carolina Propane Gas Association.

Langley told The Rant that while Harnett County currently isn’t home to any potential drilling sites, the county will be directly affected by drilling in Lee County.

“One of the proposed fracking locations is near the airport in Lee County, less than four miles from the Cape Fear River,” he said. “The Cape Fear supplies 24 percent of the population’s water in North Carolina. The Harnett Regional water system in Lillington [downriver from Lee County] supplies water to five counties in the surrounding area.”